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Tuesday, July 20, 2004

bonne + lime love = b.Limey!

The Fabulous Kate Gilbert writes in the last edition of b.Limey: “In the haute couture fashion world, green is considered bad luck so many designers avoid it. Madame Carven was one of the first (and only?) successful designers to use lots and lots of green.”

Way to pique my imagination, Kate! Superstitions, fashion, luck, mystery, intrigue – all just the stuff we are made of over hereaaah @ChicKnits…

So onto the Fashion History Ride, where we find:

“According to Liles, Scheele’s green or arsenic sage was introduced about 1770. Although it was extremely poisonous, it was used to dye cotton, linen and paper.”

Liles states that “Napier complained bitterly in 1875 that the dye was still being used and that it poisoned the maker, the winders of yarn dyed with it, and the person using the dyed article.” (p.145)

“He adds that it was particularly dangerous when used on wallpaper and that there is good evidence that the arsenic from the wallpaper in his bedroom on St. Helena killed Napoleon and poisoned some of his servants.”

The STUFF that TOOK DOWN the tiny Emperor? The arsenic in the dye itself was the culprit!

More from the Victorian Web:

“At Guy’s Hospital in London a surgeon had been presented with many patients suffering from sore eyelids and lips and lung and throat complaints, and he was the first to isolate a univerul cause. A cheap and widely used type of wallpaper was decorated in green foliage and flowers, the pattern made up in thick relief of arsenite of copper. Under heat or agitation from brushing or cleaning, particles of dust would slowly poison people in the room.”

And there’s the flip-side of a favorite color: the POPULAR color!

And you thought Avocado green refrigerators were LETHAL…


more on Madame Carven, the petite grand couturier, who, for the love of lime, defied the superstition:It all began when Madame CARVEN decided to establish her own Haute Couture house on the Rond Point des Champs Elys

6 responses to “Tuesday, July 20, 2004”

  1. Heather says:

    Another interesting Green Factoid I heard was

    People who choose Automobiles in Green are of a Genius level intelligence.


    Claire Booth Luce, the United States ambassador to Italy, she became a victim of arsenic poisoning because of the continual flaking of an arsenic-based paint from the embassy dining room ceiling onto her dinners.

    ew! Love the b.limey!

  2. MJ says:

    Such a sordid background, is green! We had the Avocado green fridge too. And shag carpet as well.

    Love b.Limey! It looks slightly *scandalous* on the, um, bust, hee hee!

  3. Lacy says:

    Gee, that explains a lot. Our first home (1971) was completely green in one shade or another – walls, carpet, frig, stove, on and on. I still love green. Now what does that say about me?

  4. Michelle says:

    Seeing as my married name is Scheele, I found this fascinating!

  5. Em says:

    Bonne Marie, I am *thrilled* to see this 19th-c. stuff up here. An early part of my diss was about women working for labor reform for the poor milliners’ assistants, who were dropping like flies from having to work with fake flowers coated in “Emerald Green.”

    The whole Wicked Witch of the West thing takes on a whole new level now, doesn’t it? :)

  6. Hilde says:

    One of my early-summer-reads was Monique Truong’s “The Book of Salt” (novel told from the point of view of Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas’s gay Vietnamese cook), and there’s a fantastic knitting, no, fantastic green yarn reference in it —

    “When Miss Toklas knows that their drive will take them outside Paris, to places where a taxi cannot be hailed at a moment’s notice for the return trip home, she packs along their ‘waiting kits.’ Hers contains a set of knitting needles and several balls of apple green yarn, the disheveled kind with wispy hairs tangled on its surface. She likes the color, so unripe it makes her pucker just to look at it. But most of all, she likes how the crispness of the color serves as a foil for the texture of the yarn, a melt-in-her-hand sensation. The eyes tell her one thing, and the hands tell her another.”

    By the way, I think *everyone* is buying that Rowan green wool.

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